War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 155-161

I have to say it’s started getting good again. After the innocent vs. corruptors section of last week, we now see the plot thicken, as Sherlock would say. Anatole goes fully throttle into seducing Natasha and has the help of Helene and Dolkhov. We are even given the description that Natasha is Helene’s “little protege.”

Anatole goes to a lot of trouble for this seduction. He’s pretty much ruining his life and good name, as he plans on sneaking her out of the country and breaking laws to put on a fake marriage. He’s cast as pretty stupid, unaware of any morals and believing that as long as it pleases him it can’t be wrong. He has no care or concern about how his behavior affects anyone else. With all these plots afoot it doesn’t look good for Natasha, though she at least has Sonya standing up for her character, whether Natasha wants her to or not. Sonya is beginning to stand out a little more as a character, while Natasha has gone from an interesting character with somewhat admirable wits to a brainless little girl and not nearly so interesting.

Another observation I’ve made: Tolstoy has really made the effort to flesh out all his characters. None are good or evil. They are just various people, portrayed from lots of different points of view. Only one of them truly stands out as a villain, with no explanations given for his character, and who gets more villainous every time he reappears, and that is Dolokhov. He is a gambler (cheater), carouser and corrupter, and he seems to hand a hand in every nefarious undertaking going on in this story. And I can’t wait to read more about him!

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